CLEATHER & KEIGHTLEY
Jun 05, 2006 07:30 AM
Soon after the publication in 1888 of the two first volumes of ?The Secret Doctrine?, by H. P. Blavatsky, Dr. Archibald Keightley, who had helped H.P.B. finish the originals of the work, had this to say:
?The third volume of ?The Secret Doctrine? is in manuscript ready to be given to the printers. It will consist mainly of a series of sketches of the great occultists of all ages, and is a most wonderful and fascinating work. The fourth volume, which is to be largely hints on the subject of practical occultism, has been outlined, but not yet written. It will demonstrate what occultism really is ...? (1)
This statement add extra strength to H.P.B.?s own declarations in the same direction. Yet, in the last few lines of the second volume of ?The Secret Doctrine?, the ?Old Lady? announced that the actual publication or not of volumes III and IV would ?entirely depend? on the reception given to volume I and II by Theosophists and Mystics.
Such a reception seems to have not been good enough.
Volumes III and IV were destroyed or ?withdrawn? by the author (or rather Authors), as suggested in the Preface of ?The Secret Doctrine?, facsimile edition published in 1947 by ?The Theosophy Co.? HPB left the physical scenario in May 1891 through an unexpected death out of an influenza with respiratory complications.
Yet in 1897 Mrs. Annie Besant came up her own ?third volume?, an ilegimate volume. In a significant step ahead, the very Adyar Theosophical Society later abandoned Besant?s edition of ?The Secret Doctrine?.
On Besant?s ?third volume?, we have the revealing testimony of Mrs. Alice Cleather, a disciple of Blavatsky?s who stayed away from power politics and loyal to her teacher.
After mentioning that A. Besant claimed to have been in charge of ?safeguarding? H.P.B?s texts for the third volume, Mrs. Alice Cleather added:
?Those who were responsible for the so-called Volume III, had a strange and unusual conception of the meaning of the word ?safeguarding?. It so happens that while it was being set up I was able actually to peruse one or two of the familiar long foolscap sheets which H.P.B. always covered with her small fine handwriting. They were mutilated almost beyond recognition, few of her sentences remaining intact ; and there were ?corrections? not only in the handwritings of the editors, Mrs. Besant and Mr. Mead, but also in that of others which I was able to identify. More than this I can not say without abusing confidence ; but the wrong done to my Teacher compels me to say this much.? (2)
Alice Cleather gives numerous evidences of Annie Besant?s tampering with ?The Secret Doctrine?.
In 1979 the Adyar Theosophical Society finally adopted a legitimate edition of the work, prepared by Mr. Boris de Zirkoff.
Best regards, Carlos Cardoso Aveline
(1) Archibald Keightley?s statements are in an interview given to the New York ?Times? and reproduced by ?The Theosophist? in July 1889 ? almost two years before H.P.B.?s death. It was later published by THEOSOPHY magazine, Los Angeles, August 1950, pp. 436-444. It is from THEOSOPHY that I quote these words. See especially p. 439.
(2) ?H.P. Blavatsky, a Great Betrayal?, by Alice Leighton Cleather, Thacker, Spink & Co., Calcutta, 1922, republished under the auspices of the H.P.B. Lending Library, c/o M. Freeman, Canada, 96 pp., see p. 75.
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